Message Boards Message Boards

- bernd the broter 8/4/19 6:53 AM
RE: The practice of Bernd Karalee Peltomaa 8/14/14 10:54 PM
RE: The practice of Bernd Karalee Peltomaa 8/21/14 5:54 AM
RE: The practice of Bernd Karalee Peltomaa 9/19/14 8:41 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure ftw 10/20/14 11:59 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure ftw 10/21/14 8:13 AM
RE: The practice of Bernd Karalee Peltomaa 10/21/14 7:42 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Karalee Peltomaa 10/22/14 3:37 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Noah 7/20/15 10:51 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Noah 7/22/15 9:42 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Bill F. 8/28/15 6:58 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure lama carrot top 8/28/15 9:26 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 9/16/15 3:06 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure John Power 10/29/15 2:14 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Saturatedfat 12/26/15 5:50 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Saturatedfat 12/28/15 2:17 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Saturatedfat 1/6/16 3:49 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Noah 4/7/16 8:45 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Saturatedfat 4/10/16 1:40 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure shargrol 5/23/16 10:11 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure shargrol 7/21/16 6:43 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure shargrol 8/24/16 9:04 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta shargrol 9/5/16 7:10 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure shargrol 9/6/16 7:30 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure shargrol 9/23/16 5:50 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure shargrol 9/23/16 8:37 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Noah D 11/8/16 7:52 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Noah D 11/9/16 9:02 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure shargrol 12/22/16 4:18 PM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure shargrol 1/9/17 6:09 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Banned For waht? 1/9/17 8:03 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Noah D 2/27/17 8:26 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Noah D 5/17/17 8:17 AM
RE: Bernd's Metta adventure Noah D 5/18/17 9:09 AM
8/4/19 6:53 AM

RE: The practice of Bernd
8/14/14 10:54 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Hello Bernd, kind regards.

I got some personal insights reading your metta practice log.   I also have a metta practice log, and I see your approach is slightly different from mine and I see that I need to also incorporate a "nice" person to balance the practice.  However, I think I will end the practice with a "nice" person.

As with yourself I also come up against self-hatred and anger and usually it eventually takes me back to a scene of some sort of split I did with myself as a spiritual being and one side of the split had a moment (an eon might be a moment in that case) of intense dislike of being squeezed down into a mold and on some level it knew it did it to itself. Gets complicated...

Like yourself, I let anger rise passively (learned from Sedona Method) and it releases. On the other hand, I have dealt with it differently from you because I look for the thoughts accompanying it and repeat the thoughts until done.  For example, "I hate myself!...I hate myself?...."   A lot of shift occurs for me while repeating my self-talk.  

Continuing with my thoughts about anger, since a being operates off of goals or intentions, any of the basic goals of a being, when compulsive, could carry much anger.  For example, to love and to be loved and all its possible permutations.. Must love/must not be loved, etc., etc.

For example, I chose to work with people who have eating/drinking compulsions. and there is anger around being forced to eat and being prevented from eating and forcing another to eat and preventing another from eating.   No more eating compulsion, no more anger regards eating.  (My partner once had a plate of spaghetti thrown into his face when he refused to eat it.)  
One becomes equanimious about the subject of eating and being eaten (joke).  

But, if you check my Metta Practice Log you will see me putting up archetypes or identities -- similar to your practice -- and remaining passive while the mind exhausts its venom on that particular energy signature.  The results are always a surprise to me.

Thanks again for giving me the insight to put up some "saints"  emoticon

RE: The practice of Bernd
8/21/14 5:54 AM as a reply to Karalee Peltomaa.
Bernd writes:
"Sometimes, though, the Metta-phrases start without me really intending it, thus reminding me to do it on purpose. Maybe that's a sign that the habit is really starting to form. Often I'm in the middle of not-really-friendly thoughts about some person, and then I recognize that it might be a better idea to just drop it and direct thoughts of Metta to them. The realization that this is even possible seems quite empowering to me."

Hello, Bernd, kind regards.

You are on the right road with your practice as long as you are persisting through the discomfort to come out the other side.

You don't really need to know about my practice, you are doing well  :-).   The similarity I see is that we are both focusing on the objects of our interactions. But not always, for example recently it was my Auntie; however I was looking for the most basic goal set expressed in our interaction since my interactions are goal oriented.   In her case it was must know/must be known, and adding that to the picture turned on more "sizzle" to dissipate.  

A person could also get a lot of metta karma points just plugging in the goal set of "to love" -- all kinds of people would come up and compulsions and thirst for sensation around love would get directly handled.  "I must love/I must be loved", etc.

As with yourself, all the discomforts appear and then vanish as I sit through them.

I too -- just yesterday -- find myself during the day putting my mind, or components of my mind all around me whenever I found myself starting to identify with it. Great practice -- to do consciously what we do unbidden all day long, i.e., create significances.

I contemplate your return.

RE: The practice of Bernd
9/19/14 8:41 AM as a reply to Karalee Peltomaa.
Hello, Bernd, good to read you again.

In an earlier thread you wrote this:  
Metta is good. More people need to do it, because it is totally possible to really be oblivious of great amounts of self-hate/anger, which creates a great amount of suffering.
NOTE: I did >500 hours of diligent Vipassana (100 Goenka, >400 Noting) gaining lots of insight, but those methods did VIRTUALLY NOTHING to make me aware of all the self-directed anger."

I'm sure all of your prior practice grooved you in to what you were to eventually experience above.    I mightily share this experience with you.   This was a couple of years after a wise person told me that ultimately all is merely self-to-self -- pointing towards Oneness.  My generalized self-hatred always takes me back to the first incident in this universe time.  The first act of "Creator" deciding to add persistency to his creation.   The force behind that was tremendous as was the resistance.  As long as I insist on holding my viewpoint on the side of the "must not know" barrier that makes me feel at total effect I am stuck in this universe mentality.   As I become more and more willing to look at this incident without flinching, the resistance to this creative act lessens and I am more and more able to get into my first viewpoint as "The Creator" of this universe.  And so perceive the Oneness and Allness.

From a creator - or All-That-Is - viewpoint, all youse viewpoints is mine :-))

Even though you did a different practice than I do, there must be some commonality that helped us to each separately arrive at almost the same place as far as diminishing the self-to-self dramas.  Certainly the first important commonality was the strong intention, and we would not have had that if we had not despised ourselves, eh!   What a laugh that gives me.

You seem to have resolved that self-hatred to your satisfaction.   I'm still enjoying the learning curve re my case and how my mind got cobbled together during this long tenure in this universe (map of unconsciousness, anyone?).  I'm eager for it now, and of course, the mind gets clever and now hides it, but I know how to play zen judo too: Whatever the mind can do I can do consciously, that is the trick here and what my practice is largely based upon.  To restore conscious creation and no-creation to the being is, I am certain, possible within one short time span.

I won't say I resolved it because I find that everytime I say that -  WHAM! - it slaps me upside the head again.   Which leads me to surmise that the upward path I am on is a sort of spiral and it simply takes the agony to a higher level of awareness and wisdom about mind-games.

love ya,

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
10/20/14 11:59 PM as a reply to Karalee Peltomaa.
Thank you for another great report. I really appreciate it. This thread will be a very important source of knowledge once i start with metta practice. Thanks again.

RE: The practice of Bernd
10/21/14 7:42 AM as a reply to Karalee Peltomaa.
Bernd wrote:

I decide to start by just saying the 5 phrases:
May I be happy.
May I be safe.
May I be peaceful.
May I be healthy.
May I take care of myself happily. 

It seems that went well for you.  Let me ask you, did you say each phrase until it felt you had no conflict with it, and then went on to the next phrase and did the same?

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
10/21/14 8:13 AM as a reply to ftw.
bernd the broter:
Go for it : D

If you want, you can start with Visu's instructions and ask him for guidance over E-Mail, which he explicitly offers (Also for Vipassana). Look here:

I only just began with meditation practice. Just observing the breath. Breath by breath. The goal is to develop practice into a proper Anapanasati. I'm trying to build up some concentration power before I tackle insight or metta meditation. Do you think metta is doable from the very beginning of ones practice? I could dedicate some percentage of my time to it. I'm aiming for 60 - 100 hours of meditation/month. So far so good. The only hours I can medidate are night/early morning hours and even those are questionable(small kids). I wake up at 2/3 AM and try to have at least two one hour sittings with walking meditation in between.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
10/22/14 3:37 PM as a reply to Karalee Peltomaa.
bernd the broter:
Usually, I can feel some sort of conflict with the phrases whenever I say them.
So if I had stuck with one phrase until the conflict dissolves... then I would still be at the first phrase.

Visu encouraged me to not stick with a fixed method, but instead try different ways, because at different times the mind may like to repeat the phrases in different ways.
So sometimes I stayed with each phrase for 5-30 (just estimating here) repetitions, before going to the next.
Sometimes I left a break between the single phrases and see, how it feels in my whole body. Sometimes I repeat the phrase instantly.
Sometimes I deliberately reflect about the meaning of the phrases (e.g. peaceful means free from anger, anxiety, unrest and a bunch of other things)

But most times I just repeated the phrases without repeating single phrases and without breaks.

Okay, thank you for answering my question.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
7/20/15 10:51 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
~~-Once I firmly decided that I would be doing Metta all day, this was surprisingly easy. This may have helped in shortening the needed time for this cycle to 6 weeks (usually around 12 weeks in the past.), with hardly any retreat time.

Bernd, I am really curious about this.  You do the practice (whatever that consists of) while walking around/doing tasks, etc.?  You are able to do it continuously?  This is how I have done vipassana.  If it is possible for Metta, then it could work for me.

How long did it take you to really start digging in with daily-life metta (I guess I might be asking: how many days or weeks of daily life practice did it take for the phrasings to strongly connect with emotions in the body)?  This may not be a simple question.

Thanks for your answers. 

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
7/22/15 9:42 AM as a reply to Noah.
Good points on the all day metta practice.  Thx again. 

Cool to hear you starting up with mudita as well.  Definitely somewhat uncharted (or less charted) territory in terms of taking a close and pragmatic eye to these practices.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
8/28/15 6:58 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.

         You may enjoy Analayo's (sp.?) new book "Emptiness and Compassion in Early Buddhism". It is available now as an ebook and is about all of the brahma viharas/cultivating them for their own sake and as deep concentration mechanisms and then using that cultivation to develop insight into emptiness and awakening. I don't read dharma books anymore but I am finding this one very useful practically as there are lots of practice directions as well as clarifications into the usefulness of the brahma viharas. I imagine you will too.-Bill

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
8/28/15 9:26 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Ah, dude, that is totally fucked up! Just kidding, but it’s a little messed up, lol.  Solo retreats have their challenges.

"Anyway, accepting everything is key...".  The whole teaching in 5 words.

Good report.  Thanks for sharing.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
9/16/15 3:06 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
HI Bernd,

I hope people find your thread at the right time in their practice. To me it is a great account. Also: I have sat with this person [2] and felt your review was balanced; you reflected on yourself candidly and with humor. So useful. I do not read you as insulting, and I also agree that there has been devaluing others; for me that sincere detection of devaluing speech of others is not to be dismissed. (For the theravadans, demoting others is also contraindicated in AN 5.159, item 5 of 5.) 

Anyway, I think leaving retreat/teacher with a balanced understanding of the opportunity and the teacher is a great indiction of really pulling the teaching into oneself to actually investigate the practice (including not consuming a practice harmful to oneself, even if that's not the intention at all of the practice teacher).

When this sort of automony (without self grandosity nor promotion nor importance) occurs I think this is excellent: A person is begining to trust that, hard/messy as it may be, the only person who can do the work is oneself. [1]

Building a raft for oneself, we investigate it thoroughly based on prior knowledge of other rafts; if we trust someone elses raft, okay, but we may end up swimming back to shore again and again (analogy). 

(...) didn't work for me, then left early. Next step trying more Karuna.

Two thumbs up. If I had more than two thumbs I'd raise them, too.

[1] We can become better at finding teachers more in line with what we determines we need. What you've described here and elsewhere is (to me) not the flightiness that sometimes happens when one is new to the practice. To me, what you've described is the heart of taking the practice in very sincerely and starting to see what/who/how doesn't work for your practice at the moment, using own mind to say, "I'll try something else, because opportunities/time is limited and this other thing is just contrary at the moment." I don't think you're describing at all the gratifying-hunt for a pleasing teacher, merely you're acting on what is not effective for you at the moment, and importantly you're relying on what you have done so far to make this own-rafting-building step. It makes it a little more likely to find those raft-builders you can learn from/benefit with, too.

[2] I also heard research knowlege there of word etmologies and interesting histories. For me, at my time, then rich-in-a-jhanic practice with calm-content mind, the lengthy lectures were, from a historical point of view, very rich and interesting to me, suitable to a mind soaked in sukkha and listening. I opted at that time to not have interviews.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
10/29/15 2:14 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Bernd, you are doing some really good practice here. My compliments that you are descripting your experience so detailled and continuously.

I´m interested if you can tell the differents between the path of Metta and the path of Vipassana from your experience? It´s interesting because you have walked both paths. You mention in the path of Metta that you also experience Fear, how is this in comparison with the Fear during the 6th nana? Is there in the path of Metta also a periode like the Dark Night where it is difficult to function in your daily life?
I would love to hear your thoughts.


RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
12/26/15 5:50 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Bernd your practice log has been really helpful for me.I've been practicing meditation on and off for 7-8 years now,sometimes I used to meditate a lot and then other time I would get bored and stop meditating for long periods of time.But I was suffering from chronic depression for last 2-3 years and got addicted to weed.At one point smoked 7-8 joints daily and meditated while high.For 1 year this continued and I felt really happy while high but sad and even more depressed when I was out of weed.Then about 9-10 months ago I became so high that I could'nt control myself and became scizophrenic.I lost all my mental balance and even at one point forgot my own identity.It was pure hell.Like all life and magic was sucked from me.I became unable to sleep and had to take a lot of sleeping pills and antipsychotics just to get some sleep.It took me 5-6 month to regain sanity,The antipsychotics were not helping that much and used to make me really dull so I seriously started meditating this time no matter how boring or dull I felt and this helped get rid of the pills. emoticon

So for the last 4 months I've been practicing metta with Sujatos instructions and It has really worked miracles.I was terrified 24/7 before and now I have no anxiety and depression is gone too.Even after getting off pills I had to sleep 12-14 hours a day just to get some energy.I now have no insomnia and sleep really well(need only 8 hours and now I do all daily activites),dreams are happy too.

Though weed made me insane,it helped me learn how to generate the feeling of metta and when I got serious with meditation everything just fell into place.Now i smoke weed maybe once a month and it doesn't really feel that great and makes me dull.I also practice fire kasina before metta with a candle flame.It really removes tiredness during meditation and helps stop mind chattering super fast.An active meditation which helps me generate feelings of metta is Sufi whirling.Rumi invented this method and his love poems prove that it works emoticon 

"In your light I learn how to love. 
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
Where no one sees you,
But sometimes I do,
And that light becomes this art".
~ Rumi

I'll try a seven day home retreat after a few days,I've never done any retreat before so hope I'll make more progress in 2016.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
12/28/15 2:17 PM as a reply to Saturatedfat.
So I now do Metta meditation something like this-

If I'm well rested then start fire kasina first.If not then first take 15-20 minute power nap.I never meditate well while tired.Fire kasina or maybe (Tratak) would be more specific,really helps a bunch.The main goal is to stare softly at the candle flame and not blink.The theory is our eyes and mind are related.If we forcefully stop blinking(while staring softly at candle flame) it's also easy to stop mind chatter/wandering.Learnt this technique from osho.I do this for ~15 minutes.

Next I do Skeleton meditation suggested by sujato and spread metta for 5-7 minutes.This really helps me spread the metta on the whole body later.Plus it is good for bone formation as research suggests.To me metta is nothing other than a cocktail of Oxytocin,Vasopressin making Anandamide.The word "Ananda" literally means happiness emoticon
The more feeling of metta you produce(oxytocin) the more you produce andandamide making you more blissful.This video explains this really well.

Then after that I give metta to myself for about 20 minutes.The opening mantra I use is "No matter what I have done in the past or what I'll do in the future,the door of my heart is always open to me"-Learnt this from Ajhan Brahm,and this really helps to accept myself totally.And then I keep repeating "May I be filled with loving kindness,may I be happy" until feeling of metta is quite well established across the whole body.And there are oxytocin receptors all over the body,so this whole body metta technique seems quite logical.

Next I give metta to a loved one for 10 minutes saying "may X be happy" using as less visualization as possible.Visualizing/imagining stuff got me hallucinating before,so I only concentrete on the feeling of metta.Then another 5-7 minutes on a neutral person,"may Y be happy" and about 20 minute for Difficult person.

After that,even though Sujato told to speard metta all across after getting into jhana,I speard metta everywhere anyways.I don't know when I'm gonna reach the 1st jhana but it feels a lot better after spreading the metta everwhere and remain there for sometime than just giving metta to difficult person for long periods of time.In total it takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

I really like the "Meditation mountain" simile by Ajhan Brahm-

The man is called "Mr. Sam Atha", he is going up the mountain because it is so calm and peaceful up there. The woman is called "Mrs. Vi Passana", she is going up there because she wants to see the beautiful view from the top of the mountain. Their dog, who happens to be called "Metta", comes up the mountain with them.

As they go higher and higher up the mountain Sam becomes more and more peaceful, but he also takes in the scenery. Vi enjoys the nice views, but she also finds it to be a very peaceful experience. Meanwhile, the higher up they go, Metta the dog wags his tail more and more.

In other words, the higher up "Meditation Mountain" you go the more stillness, insight and happiness comes to you regardless of what you started climbing for.

So it seems in metta meditation intensity is most important,you just need to get blissed out .For me when I really become blissful there is very little mind chatter and all fear naturally disappears.I feel really high after finishing the meditation and very peaceful.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
1/6/16 3:49 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Before I found your practice log I just learnt only basic metta meditation I found on youtube by sujato.I got the links of metta retreat audios from your posts and your expereiences in the retreats also helped me as very few people practice metta as their main meditation.Your practice log is very informative and I think anyone practicing metta will benefit from it.

This video explains schizophrenia quite well.

The things I'm about to say now will sound too ridiculous but this really happend to me so.....

Excessive weed,depression,stress all contributed to my schizophrenia.The day I finally was mad:I was smoking weed with my friend.We both got really high,sitting and watching music videos.Suddenly he touched my hand and I immedietly felt that I became twice as high.Then we just spontaneously hugged for like 15 seconds and after that it felt like a burst of energy coming out my heart area and it felt like we both were on top of the world and started dancing for no reason.It was all good and when my friend left my home,as soon as my friend left I just became high like never before and it felt like I will not exist.I became very afraid and tried to shake off the high but it only made me more anxious.Maybe if I had gone with the flow things would have been better,who knows.

And when my friend returned to his home,he suddenly lost all sense  of control and cried for a long time and then fell asleep tired and when he woke up he couldn't remember anything he did after coming back to his house,his roommates later told him about what happend.He's also taking pills now as he losses control and becomes violent at night when he can't fall asleep but on daytime he is quite ok.So we both became mad at the same time,but why this happend I have no fucking idea.emoticon

After the incident I became unable to sleep and my condition got worse and worse.I lost the ability to talk properly,I would try for hours to talk about a topic but I would lose track on mid way or keep repeating the same thing and never finish what I wanted to say.I lost all logic completely,became very superstitious about everything.At one point I became terrified of almost everything.It felt like everyone was spying on me,laughing at me,triying to hurt me.And it was so severe that even if a bird started chirping I thought someone has put the bird outside my house to mock me.I had vivid auditory hallucinations and some of them were terrifying.I was also convinced that the world was about to end. emoticon

I never had anger issues before but after scizophenia I suddenly became filled with anger and started to behave badly with everyone.When you become angry you simply become mad for those few moments and then again come back to reality.And the day you cannot come back,that day you need a doctor.I really tried to stop getting angry and consiously solve my problem and took me about 4 months just to regain some sense of sanity.I was getting nowhere with the pills and getting more depressed but meditation made things normal again.I used to do anapanasati at that time.

Weed doesn't provide any benefits for Anapanasati or Vipassana but for Metta meditation,I think it might be helpful just to get fimiliar with the feelig of metta.I find it really easy to generate metta on heart area and on the whole when high on weed.After schizoprenia everytime I smoked weed I was terrified as fuck and one time thought I wouldnt live but after starting practicing metta meditation the feeling of metta helped me overcome the fear.Now I smoke weed like I used to before getting sick(once or twice a month) and dont feel anxious anymore.


RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
4/7/16 8:45 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.

I doubt that humans will ever on a large scale will able to do enough meditation training to be liberated from that.

I agree, been having this thought lately.  Who's gonna want to do all this work, especially given that most people don't even know how fuq'd up they are?

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
4/10/16 1:40 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
This is just my suggestion.It worked for me when I was in my dark night phase,maybe you'll get benefits too.
Try listening to OSHO.You might not like parts of his talks about sex & religion but simply just by sitting silently & listening to his discourses you'll get a clean high and you'll be easily be able to go deep in meditation.He talks very slowly with long pauses and the silence between his words will help you calm down and become meditative,his jokes are funny too.
Don't try to logically analyze what he is saying just try to listen to the silence between his words.His discourses worked wonders for me when I was in the dark night.Metta meditation is not working for you right now,nothing wrong about it,drop meditation for a week or so and try listening to OSHO's talks daily for these 7 days.Most of his discourses are 1 hour 45 minute long about the same time as you meditate,just try it.You'll see you'll become more positive,confident and go deeper in your meditation.And when you again feel more positive give metta meditation another try.
First watch these short videos on youtube,you'll get a idea what his discourses are like

If you like the short videos then please listen to the full audio discourses,they are completely free and can really change you positively.
The Heart sutra-
The Diamond sutra-
The Dhammapada-
The Buddha Emptiness of the Heart-
The Path of Love-

And these are his full lenght videos.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
5/23/16 10:11 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
"How can one even live years with that amount of painful stuff. It's amazing. "

It is amazing. But for better or worse "ignorance" takes the edge off for most people, which is why people don't go completely completely completely bonkers. In a way it is harder for meditators because they don't have the protection of "ignorance is bliss".

For what it's worth, I always find metta/karuna formulations more powerful and effective if I use at least a three part statement: "May I..., "May we..." May I...". Usually I use a four part statement "I, They, We, I". It just seems to draw more power by not isolating myself from the rest of the world in my wishes/goals. When you include all beings in your wish/goal, then all beings seem to lend their support in some groovy way. Or maybe it's better to say, you don't find the self-other conflict as much of a limitation to your wishes/goals.

Another thing I would suggest is very short practice sessions. 12 minutes to settle, 5 minutes to open to new territory using inquiry, 3 minutes to rest/reintegrate.

Another thing that helps is trying the lying down position.

Basically, when you get closer and closer to the primal stuff in late stages, it helps to take it in small doses.

One last thought... I found my self doing a binary kind of noting for a while and it really helped: "inadequate" and "superior". Those two sensations/contexts are really at the heart of this "self" problem. Just becoming more aware of those two psychological rebirths (as a inadequate person, as a superior person) helps point toward the state beyond those extremes, which really isn't a state so much as finally living with those things in their proper context - just momentary judgments without much true reality.

Hope this helps!

EDIT: I just re-read your thread and my comments... and frankly I'm doubting whether the comments will be helpful. So definitely feel free to disregard if not helpful.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
7/21/16 6:43 AM as a reply to shargrol.
I can see now it wasn't a great suggestion. Sorry about that. Here's another thought... It's completely different from my previous suggestion, but I think it might have much better traction for you -- but obviously I don't know, so as always I'm throwing it out as a suggestion again.

This is something that could be a main practice or a supplemental practice. It's basically intentionally connecting to the so-called six realms of existance and doing metta in each one. In modern terms, it's all about connecting with the reactive, semi-conscious patterns in our minds, making them conscious, and being able to experience body sensations without being triggered into going into a reactive pattern. I found this practice very, very helpful for looking/re-living my dark stuff, especially at a body level, and feeling more solid even in tough situations.

The practice is to visualize being in one of the realms, spending sometime really experiencing how beings in this realm behave, and then do metta. If you don't "feel" compassion after a while, then just do the metta.

So you visualize yourself in a hell realm, the anger realm, where all the beings feel pain and instinctively lash out and cause more pain. Maybe it's a single person in the middle of a thorn patch feeling pain and trying to run away from it, creating more pain. The pain causes anger and the anger causes pain, the pain clouds the mind causing anger which clouds the mind and causes pain. Get a feel for this pattern and what it's like to live there. When you really get this realm, then do metta:

May they be calm and at ease.
May they be healthy, rested, and whole.
May they be safe and free from danger.
May they face the difficulties in their life, while avoiding unnecessary problems.
May they awaken.
May they be free from suffering.
May they be happy.

Do that for each of the six realms during a sit... or focus on one for a few sits and eventually work through them all.

Hell - anger
Hungry ghosts - greed, never getting enough
Animals - habit, always doing what they have done, confused about any change
Humans - desire, always wanting something, getting and wanting and getting and wanting
Titans - jealousy, powerful beings that want to become a god... but they always fail because they go too far, their power is their undoing
Gods - pride, always feeling good and avoiding minor discomforts, but in denial about mortality and eventual their eventual downfall 

At the end of each session, do metta for yourself:

May I be calm and at ease
May I be healthy, rested, and whole.
May I be safe and free from danger.
May I face the difficulties in their life, while avoiding unnecessary problems.
May I awaken.
May I be free from suffering.
May I be happy.

Again, this might seem to be very archaic, but basically it's using visualization to connect with dark material and gain a kind of clairity that is powerful enough to withstand the turmoil that happens during difficult mind states. Eventually you'll be able to "go into" each of these realms with much more clarity and less reactivity. It builds a very broad foundation for true equanimity.

Ken McLeod has good stuff online for the six realms. Highly recommended!

Best wishes!

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
8/24/16 9:04 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Sounds really good.

Yup, it's common to go through territory that seems familiar/solved and for things to just move on. That's indeed the major evidence for there being nanas that present in a fairly consistent order.

bernd the broter24.08.2016
There is a certain interplay between both practices. Saying the Brahmavihara phrases evokes lots of Stuff, which is closely connected to Felt Senses or at least Partial Felt Senses. This makes it easy to connect to those things.
However, there are large phases of time, where the Stuff-evocation does not happen. For two reasons:
Either because it is too volatile (Stuff changes and vanishes too fast to connect to it) or because it just doesn't appear.
In the second case: It seems that the stuff just vanishes somewhere deep into the background. Maybe there is some sort of deadening happening here? I don't know.

How could this be established?
The most obvious idea would be to mix in more Focusing-Elements and invite Stuff consciously. The problem with this approach is that it needs lots of time and possibly won't work. Also, if Stuff vanishes again as soon as I transition to Brahmaviharas, then this defeats the purpose.

Another possibility would be to change Brahmaviharas more often.
The most blunt approach would be to change to another Brahmavihara as soon as Stuff vanishes. (On-demand spontaneous switching)
But this probably leads only to confusion. Mind will soon adapt, and do all sort of weird stuff, and no concentration on the phrases will develop at all.
Thus this is probably useless.

What to do instead? Changing Brahmaviharas on a fixed schedule may be more feasible. Such as doing a different one each day, or even each sitting. (Alternating 20 minutes each in one sitting seems to be too much confusion.)
Maybe I should try that.

The work above sounds really good. One thing that is easy to overlook is when the lack-of-stuff experience arises and there is a wanting for something different -- that, right there, is Stuff. It's subtle stuff, subtle aversion, but it is as important as bigger experiences of Stuff. So when nothing seems to be happening and there is an urge to switch methods in order to be more productive -- look directly at that urge.

This is the big difference between psychology and meditation. Psychology focuses on the bigger storylines, the bigger stuff. Meditation goes through that territory, but then there is an opportunity to look at the subtle urges that are underneath it all.

A very basic practice is to notice and distinguish between pleasurable sensations vs greed/clinging, negative sensations vs aversion, neutral sensations vs boredom/indifference/ignoring. Experientially, if you can distinguish between +/-/0 sensations and greed, aversion, and ignorance the power of "stuff" goes away and there is a lot more freedom and appreciation of how things actually are.

Hope this helps!

RE: Bernd's Metta
9/5/16 7:10 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Nice! How awesome that you can see that many of the psychology-oriented practices are great at dealing at gross problems, but it creates another subtle problem of always needing to find some problem to apply some method and on and on and on! The domain of meditation is where you simply sit and do nothing or nearly nothing --- and become familiar with that way of experiencing. What happens during doing nothing is all the automatic ways of subtly manipulating experience becomes very obvious. We need some project, some angle, some power struggle, some sense of getting more good stuff and avoiding more bad stuff. Which is fine, but it's very curious that we can't sit and just _be_.

So the whole point of meditation is to achieve some kind of equanimity and dwell in it. Being comfortable experiencing and not manipulating things. Eventually that equanimity oozes into every experience and there is a lot less basic suffering, that basic neurosis or paranoia that comes from always needing to do something, achieve something, fix something, etc. It's hard to imagine how much easier aspects of living can be when we aren't fighting ourselves all the time.

This can be gnarly work, though. No doubt about it. That old joke "better not to start, but if you start, better to finish quickly" has enough truth to it that it shouldn't be ignored. The truth is you kinda tear down old patterns and build back a much cleaner sense of self. Sounds great, but it's hard work.

bernd the broter
Anyway, I tried to do the following: whenever something feels 'off', I would just ask myself two simple questions:
1) What is the feeling tone of my experience right now?
2) What is my attitude towards this right now?

sounds good!

It seems that I've been in rock-solid equanimity for the past few days.
At one occasion I could simply decide to drop some of the excess body tension.
It later came back, and made me wonder what are the conditions that I can simply decide stuff like this.
And if I could decide it then, can I do so now? Why (not)? And do I want to decide it? Where do decisions even come from? This is eating my brain u_U
Also, it seems that the mind spontaneously abandons some of the useless patterns that I've been observing for months (or years? It's been a long time.). Seems promising. I remember what a noting teacher told me: "maybe you will do it again another ten thousand times, but finally you will get it, and then you will stop this behaviour."
As usual, it's too early to send invitations to the party, but I'm currently rather optimistic, attenuated by the balancing property of Equanimity.

really nice! Yes, that's exactly it. What seems to happen is if you have enough awareness, then an experience is occurring _within_ awareness and you have a lot of choices about dropping body tensions, watching emotions without reacting, having thoughts without believing them as absolutely true, etc. But when mindfulness is weak, then you are in some way embedded in the experience and you can't drop tensions or experience emotions and thoughts -- you are too busy reacting to them.

So meditation gives you a chance to become intimate with what is occurring, building mindfulness, and allowing you to experience things without reactivity, which gives you a lot more options in how you respond to experiences.

And as always, the trick is to do exactly what you are doing. When things seem to be going wrong, reconnect with your feeling tone and reconnect with your attitude.

Best wishes!

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
9/6/16 7:30 AM as a reply to shargrol.
Another way to say it is, in psychological approaches you "deal" with an experience by applying a method, like applying an antidote. In meditation methods, you go "through" an experience by fully experiencing it. If you can't really fully experience things, go slow, take your time, keep chipping away, and if things are really bad, apply psycholgical methods.

​​​​​​​In meditation, each experience is a door to a door to a door... and almost imperceptibly you grow more mindful, and suddenly you look around an say, wow, thing are really different from the way I used to react before. There are ways to map different stages and different kinds of insights, but in terms of process: it's just getting your butt onto the cushion and getting used to watching the mind as mind.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
9/23/16 5:50 AM as a reply to shargrol.
I wouldn't want anyone to get hung up on the distinction I'm making, that's for sure! I agree there are exceptions and gray areas in the simplistic dichotomy ("fixing/dealing with" experience vs. "opening to" experience) that I was suggesting.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
9/23/16 8:37 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Awesome, inspirational!

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
11/8/16 7:52 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
From my corner, I'm enjoying reading increases in sensory clarity, compassion and equanimity (as in Shinzen) sort of "baked into" the writing here.  Implicit in this is increasing insight into the intricacy of fractals and meta-fractals (pardon the illiteration).  The shift towards doing only "what works" (I.e. only Mudita) would be an indicator of 10 Fetter 1st path according to my coach.  Working hard towards that myself right now.  Yippee!

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
11/9/16 9:02 AM as a reply to Noah D.
MCTB says this ain't easy, and that seems to be true. What am I to do?
Thoughts about maps: They are there. They are going on my nerves. On the retreat, I already decided that I have to abandon them.

Compassion! (emphasis mine)
Thoughts about maps are often related to "this nana is bad, this nana is ok...".
More specifically, A&P is somewhat ok, equanimity is really good, and the rest is sort of annoying.
Since these things will be with me for some time, it might be best to befriend all of them.
So, it's official: As of today, N10.10 is my best friend (:


The conviction is strong, but the reasoning is hidden.

The nana-rotation is boring, too. What's the point of practice if one can predict with impressive accuracy the conditions of the following days? Come on, I want more heart-breaking surprise, uplifting ecstasy in delusion, surprising plot-twists and what-not.

In particular, the automatic noticing-module is gone.

Sensory clarity!
Looking at the process in detail, and understanding its workings directly, unfiltered by any concepts about it.

This is what I mean: a maturation in perspective can certainly involve the dropping of outdated concepts.  Whether you use words from MCTB or not, noticing the patterns of the displays that occur in your mind as you persistently investigate is a good thing.
I don't get it. What does Mudita have to do with 1st path?

I was using Mudita as an example.  Not saying it has some direct or core link to Sotapana.  You have been increasingly discovering what works for you throughout this log, when to switch between Brahma Viharas, identifying and adjusting to life changes or mind stages, etc.  In the particular tradition I am working in, the Sotapana stage has to do with the integration of the 3 trainings leading to a 'critical mass' or turning point in which one becomes completely willing to adapt to reality, not ideals of how things should and should not be.  In other words, changing meditation techniques when necessary, not being stubborn because one had an ideal about how they should work.  For me its involved knowing I need to learn certain life skills and go through growing pains and not waiting around for meditation to help me with this.  Anyone who does some solid training would have examples that begin to approach this type of transition.
What does "doing only what works" have to do with 1st path? 

The Sotapanna has stopped the fetter of Silabbata Paramasa from arising.  This is the mishandling of Sila.  Aka believing in magical thinking, trying to stick with ideals rather than what works, not being flexible, not facing the truth, etc.  
why 10-fetter 1st path and not MCTB first path... ?,_?

A couple points here.  When I say "MCTB path" I mean Daniel's criteria, which diverge from most DhO claims after MCTB 2nd Path.  I don't think most claimants have achieved Daniel's definition of 3rd Path, including myself (possibly I have after recent developments, not sure).

That aside, the 10 Fetter paradigm I'm practicing in right now does not closely track perceptual events through a phenomenological lens.  It doesn't really care what insight knowledge you are in, or whether you have experienced a cessation.  The closest my teacher gets to referencing a nondual baseline is by saying that one "walks around in 1st jhana all the time."  Thus, it does indirectly test whether or not one has touched the unconditioned, by measuring the inevitable, positive after-images this non-experience leaves on the mind.  

This particular map measures a gradual reduction, through internal and external habit formation, of each fetter, on each level that they manifest (i.e. physical, mental, emotional, etc.).  The fetters may be worked on out of order, making 2nd and 3rd path difficult to differentiate between.  This can only occur through a synergy of development on all 3 axis'. 

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
12/22/16 4:18 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
My two cents on practicing is that you need to test out stuff you don't like... at least every so often. It has a way of slapping you on the side of the head in ways you can't really predict. The important thing is to dedicate a block of time to it, at least 20 minutes but ideally 40 to 60 minutes. Otherwise the dose doesn't get high enough and you just kinda "play" that style of meditation.

Take noting for example, it has a way of taking away the "I'm doing this practice" side of things that comes with other methods. You just note what happens. You don't care what happens, you just note what happens. That's a totally different attitude toward practice than cultivating metta, etc.

Take metta for example, it has a way of taking away the  "I'm special, only I feel this way" side of things. You notice how non-objective we are about our own wants and needs -- it feels like something that should drive our life, but actually everyone has the same kind of visceral desires and feelings of lack. It really takes off when it gets to the point where you say "wow, this is what shame feels like. Everyone that feels shame feels like this. Since I'm feeling shame anyway, may I take on the world's feeling of shame so that can be rid of it for a while. May it all come to me during this sit. May the rest of the world experience relief while I take on their shame. " (That later part is "taking and sending" practice, which is a another form of metta.)

Take tranquility for example, it has a way of highlighting how we are our own worst enemy and make things needlessly complicated for ourselves. We sit and our only goal is to relax and be tranquil. Yet our stuff keeps coming up. Part of our mind notices the "ill will" and it seems like part of our mind/body isn't effected by ill will, so we go to the not-ill-will part of our experience with our intention. We sigh, we let go, we relax, we feel it. We go into that feeling of relief and it deepens... yet before you know it there is another ill will -- the same one but stronger or weaker, or a different one -- that somehow became our focus of attention. So we repeat the process. This "letting go of ill will" is a totally different training than the other two.

So I would go with the "do all three" approach, but just make sure you aren't switching around too early. Like a good workout, you need to get to your cutting edge and hang out there for a while, regardless of the specific meditation practice you are doing.

Best wishes!

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
1/9/17 6:09 AM as a reply to shargrol.
The specific amount of time differs for different people, but yeah the cutting edge for you is probably where things get difficult between 30-40 minutes.

It's kind of like working out with weights or running, it's the last few lifts, the last few miles that makes you stronger the next time. If you don't challenge yourself a little each time (note I said a little, because you don't want to burn out either), then things tend to plateau which becomes boring and then people quit.

Spending 5 to 10 minutes in the zone where things get a little difficult is actually most efficient. You've done the warm up, now challenge yourself a little. 

Some people don't get to this zone until 45 minutes in, one person I know only sat 20 minutes a day and made very good progress  -- so no rules, just something to notice. Adding a few minutes at the end can make a big difference.

BTW, I agree it can be hard to find the right balance of "effort". I like to use workout metaphors because it conveys some intentional action, some challenge, but recognizes the need for not going to0 far and having rest periods in between workouts. 

and also BTW, it's normal to have the thoughts "Ill never get this done" especially when you look at personal experience from the inside. But it's almost always the case that other people around you see more progress than we see for ourselves. Like "oh that shargrol, he's much less of an asshole these days" whereas I'm like "my mind is in chaos and I'm so reactive!!!" 

As always, you do what you can, trying to balance your life in as many dimensions as possible, recognizing that there is no such thing as perfect practice, perfect progress, or a perfect person. Just keep going "straight ahead" as they say in Zen. emoticon

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
1/9/17 8:03 AM as a reply to shargrol.
the effort and effortelssness are like in and outbreath to the max, means when you finally have internal breath then you can fall throught the wall to the pit(under the bottom of outbreath) or with inbreath you can return your awareness or pull it back up(from chest). Last breath it is called, no returning back. Its a good thing and a stage. Eventually it gives the one-movement you can use without going through that complicated process but again with its own challenges comes to surface.

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
2/27/17 8:26 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Haha if it makes it seem any safer or more grounded I have switched to relating to loving humans in my imaginal space.  The only difference then between this and typical metta would be that I'm purposely waiting for information back from these beings (not just giving it out).  I guess focusing on intimate, personal attachment specifically is also a difference. 

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
5/17/17 8:17 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Path shift!! Plus the obnoxiousness of review A :/

as you said on my thread, it may not be the technique specifically that did it, but rather the fact that you changed techniques which removed the subconscious obstacle.  Or at least this is how it happens for me.

ill take you up on that cone some time emoticon

RE: Bernd's Metta adventure
5/18/17 9:09 AM as a reply to Noah D.
Yea I know what you mean by morality shift.  I've had a few happen in the past year or two.

RE the technique, I don't know whether it's different from metta or not since when I read the pali canon some suttas make it sound like metta is about safety & intimacy & others make it sound more impersonal.  But yeah it worked for me so I'm glad.

Announcements Announcements